The Lanka Academic

 
MAY 27, 2000 EST, USA
 
A NEWSPAPER PUBLISHED BY LACNET
 
VOL. 1, NO. 52
 

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Anil's Ghost: Ondaatje's new novel worth the wait
ANNE-MARIE TOBIN, Associated Press. TORONTO (CP) -- Michael Ondaatje left Sri Lanka as a schoolboy and settled in Canada almost 40 years ago, but his new novel Anil's Ghost conveys an ache for the people of his troubled homeland. More...
LA Times review by Jonathan Levi
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Exclusive Aaj Tak Video report: Interview of CBK
India Today, May 27, 2000. [Watch]

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Published: Sat May 27 22:54:18 EDT 2000


India signs MOU with MIT
Deccan Herald, New Delhi, May 27 (PTI). In a major initiative, India today signed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) with the world`s premier research body - Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)- to jointly set up research centres called media labs. ''India today signed an MOU with MIT for setting up media labs, which will give state-of-the-art Research & Development (R&D) facilities,``official sources said here. As per the MOU, two centres of excellence - one at the MIT in USA and the other in India- would be established soon, they said adding the modalities were yet to be worked out. The IT ministry had set up a Non-Resident Indian (NRI) advisory committee in January this year to provide critical technical inputs to keep India abreast with global developments and this collaboration with MIT was being seen as the next major policy initiative, they added. More...
Published: Sat May 27 21:15:31 EDT 2000

PM discusses Lanka with Services chiefs
India Times, Sunday 28 May 2000. NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Vajpayee on Saturday held at a meeting with the three Services chiefs when the fast-developing situation in Sri Lanka was understood to have been discussed. An overall Indian strategy has been put in place and ``it will unfold as per the developments,'' said a senior government source. There was no official word on the meeting attended by Army chief Gen. V P Malik, Navy chief Admiral Sushil Kumar and Air chief marshal A Y Tipnis. Defence minister George Fernandes was not present. More...
Published: Sat May 27 20:35:46 EDT 2000

Army will stay put in Jaffna, says Colombo
The Straits Times, MAY 28, 2000. Sri Lanka's military yesterday vowed to defend the northern peninsula of Jaffna against a major Tamil rebel offensive as the guerillas announced a unilateral truce to allow civilians to move out. Army General Jaanaka Perera said the military was pushing back the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the Jaffna peninsula and that the troops' morale was higher with the induction of new weapons and equipment. "The unceasing waves are now chasing the Tigers,'' Gen Perera said over national radio referring to the rebel offensive, code-named Unceasing Waves III, aimed at retaking Jaffna. More...
Published: Sat May 27 19:58:04 EDT 2000

Some powerful countries are helping LTTE: Lankan minister
Deccan Herald, DEHRADUN (UP), May 27. Some powerful countries were helping the LTTE in its fight against Sri Lankan forces in Jaffna penunsula, Sri Lankan Minister for Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Mahinda Rajapaksa said here today.

''Some powerful countries which want to get foothold in the region are helping the Tamil rebels in its fight against us,`` Mr Rajpaksa told PTI.

He, however, did not divulge the names of such countries saying ''I would not be able to pinpoint those countries but definitely some powerful countries are there. Otherwise they (LTTE) would not have been able to sustain their offensive against a full- fledged army.`` More..
Published: Sat May 27 18:13:52 EDT 2000


Cricket: Asia Cup Tournament Dark clouds of doubt hover over Dhaka
Deccan Herald, DHAKA, May 27. Even as cricket itself further came under a cloud after the startling revelations made by former Indian all-rounder Manoj Prabhakar in Delhi this evening, the Asia Cup cricket tournament, set to begin on the morrow, came under a more conventional cloud cover here, with rains threatening to rob the event off not just a prompt start but many a match itself.

Cricket has been quite low key, with the practice of both hosts Bangladesh and defending champions Sri Lankans -- both of whom are to clash in the opener tomorrow -- being severely curtailed.

''The rains have certainly hampered our practice,`` admitted Sri Lankan skipper Sanath Jayasuriya. The Lankans haven`t had any cricket since their historic Test and one-day series wins over Pakistan in Pakistan in January-February earlier this year and so they certainly could have done with more practice here. More..
Published: Sat May 27 18:13:53 EDT 2000


215 Lankan refugees settled in new camp
Deccan Herald, COIMBATORE, May 27 . As many as 215 families, who came as refugees from Sri Lanka recently, have been brought and settled at a new camp at Malayandipattinam, near Kottur, about 45 kms from here. More..
Published: Sat May 27 18:13:53 EDT 2000

Lankan army not informed of LTTE ‘cease-fire’
India Express, 27th May. The Sri Lankan Army has not been informed about the 12-hour ''unilateral cease fire'' declared by the LTTE which began at 1000 hrs (local time) on Saturday to facilitate the evacuation of civilians to safer areas from the battle zones of Jaffna Peninsula.

A senior military official, when contacted for the reaction to the LTTE's offer, said: ''I can't comment on an LTTE statement, which appeared on Internet. Definitely, they (LTTE) have not informed the army. Even if they are willing to hold a cease-fire, there are certain procedures. They army has to be informed. Then we will have to discuss about the offer.'' More..
Published: Sat May 27 18:00:49 EDT 2000


India finds itself in a tight spot
Hindustani Times, Colombo May 27. AN INCREASING number of Sri Lankans now feel that it is India and not Lanka or the LTTE, which is in a tight spot on the Sri Lankan issue. While the Lankan government and the LTTE are clear about their objectives and the way to reach them, the Indians, apparently, are not.

Analysts feel that if such indecisiveness continues, India could eventually find itself eased out of the arena altogether with imponderable consequences for its own security and position as the regional power. More..
Published: Sat May 27 17:53:48 EDT 2000


Norwegian peace moves likely to flounder in Sri Lanka: Lankan minister
Yahoo-AFP, NEW DELHI, May 27 . A Sri Lankan government minister said Saturday that a Norwegian effort to restore peace in the war-torn island was likely to be bogged down by mistrust and suspicion, the Press Trust of India said.

Sri Lankan Minister for Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development, Mahinda Rajapaksa, told reporters in the northern hill resort of Dehradun that Sri Lankans were unlikely to accept the Norwegians as impartial peacemakers More..
Published: Sat May 27 17:47:59 EDT 2000


Sri Lanka rejects rebel truce offer
Yahoo-AFP, COLOMBO, May 27. Sri Lanka on Saturday rejected a truce offered by Tamil Tiger guerrillas and vowed to defend the northern peninsula of Jaffna against a major rebel offensive.

The government accused the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) of a propaganda war in the face of heavy counter attacks by government forces in Jaffna. More..
Published: Sat May 27 17:42:45 EDT 2000


Jaffna ceasefire ends
BBC, Saturday, 27 May, 2000, 21:18 GMT 22:18 UK. Back the army: Sri Lanka wants more people to join up A ceasefire called by the Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka to allow civilians to flee the war zone in the northern Jaffna peninsula is over. A military spokesman confirmed that there was a lull in fighting after the rebels' unilateral 12-hour truce began at 1000 local time (0400 GMT) on Saturday. More...
Published: Sat May 27 17:39:13 EDT 2000

Recognition doesn't always follow a successful rebellion
CBS-UPI, NEW DELHI, India, May 26 . The Tamil Eelam will likely mirror Somaliland, the only country in the world that does not enjoy diplomatic recognition from any other government, if the ruthless Tiger chief Velupillai Prabhakaran and his band of teenaged foot soldiers capture Sri Lanka's northern Jaffna peninsula.

The chief of the formidable Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam set a noon GMT Friday deadline for the Sri Lankan government troops to surrender their weapons. Prabhakaran asked some 37,000 Sri Lankan soldiers to give up their weapons and, within 24 hours, the solders would be handed over to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The Sri Lankan government rejected a similar offer made by the LTTE a week ago. This time the government did not bother to respond to the announcement. Instead, it armed its troops with more sophisticated weapons and claimed that the soldiers stalled the rebels' advance toward Jaffna. More..
Published: Sat May 27 17:39:01 EDT 2000


The Best Guerrilla of All
Outlook India, June 05. The myth was bigger than the man. That was in the early '80s, when I met ltte leader Velupillai Prabhakaran for the very first time. I still remember that first meeting so vividly. It was a sunny morning in a Tiger safehouse in Chennai, facing the Bay of Bengal. Prabhakaran was meeting a journalist for the very first time in his life. For me, it was a big scoop but I had to cool my heels for two hours before I finally met the elusive guerrilla leader.

"Prabhakaran is the most determined and ruthless man I have met. And his foresight is amazing. He sees today what his opponents do years later." More..
Published: Sat May 27 17:33:07 EDT 2000


Lankan army dismisses LTTE's offer for unilateral ceasefire
Deccan Herald, COLOMBO, May 27 (UN. The Sri Lankan army today dismissed the LTTE`s order for 'surrender` and the offer of unilateral ceasefire to facilitate the safe evacuation of civilians as 'fraudulent` and vowed to continue its fight to preserve the territorial integrity of the nation. Reacting to the LTTE`s latest 'dictum`, a government statement said the LTTE was spreading

a 'canard` which has no response from the soldiers or civilians in Jaffna. More...
Published: Sat May 27 13:55:53 EDT 2000


Lull in Sri Lankan fighting gives civilians chance
Deccan Herald, LONDON, May 27 (REUTE. A ceasefire called by Tamil Tiger rebels appeared to have taken effect today with the Sri Lankan military saying the northern battle zone was silent. ''There is a lull in the fighting at the moment. Everything is quiet,`` Sri Lankan army spokesman Palitha Fernando told Reuters.

More...
Published: Sat May 27 13:55:53 EDT 2000


Lankan troops sink 2 LTTE barges
India Abroad, May 27, 2000, 16:12 Hrs. Colombo: Two LTTE barges loaded with supplies sailing the Kilaly lagoon in Jaffna sank as they were hit by the main battle tank of the Sri Lankan army, while troops repulsed with artillery an attack by Tiger

guerillas in Colombuthurai on Friday. Five guerillas were killed in isolated clashes elsewhere, a situation report issued by the government's information department on Saturday

morning said. It did not mention the unilateral ceasefire offered by

the LTTE for 12 hours on Saturday. More...
Published: Sat May 27 13:53:01 EDT 2000


Jaffna civilians ordered to dig bunkers.
Roy Denish in Colombo, SLT, 14.35 Saturday.. Separatist Liberation of Tamil Eelam involved in bloody battles with Sri Lankan government forces to liberate the peninsula from the clutches of the government ordered Tamil civilians in the region to dig-bunkers to save themselves from being killed in crossfires.

The Tamil Tigers, described as one of the ruthless terrorist organization in the world on Saturday morning ordered the civilians either to leave the battle-scarred areas or dig bunkers to save themselves.

Orders went out; just an hour after the LTTE clandestine radio, the Voice of Tigers (VOT) in its news bulletin gave government troops in northern Jaffna peninsula just 12 hours to pack-off or face consequences.

Tamil Tigers first ordered the troops to withdraw by Friday, but extended the deadline as troops provided with newly purchased standoff weapons dug new bunker lines to prevent any onslaught by Tiger rebels, now on the doorstep of Jaffna peninsula.

A military official said here that troops were determined to hold on to Jaffna and under no circumstances would withdraw. In support of military official's statement, the Sri Lankan foreign minister Lakshman Kadiragamar in an interview with a weekly English newspaper The Weekend Express said, "army will take all necessary steps to see an end to terrorism in Jaffna peninsula".

Kadiragamar, told the newspaper further that although, the troops suffered setbacks, and they were determined to hit back at the LTTE.

"One cannot at this point of time be actually sure of the reasons for the setbacks the army has suffered, but notwithstanding these setbacks, the army is determined to acquit itself in the battles that lie ahead", the minister told the newspaper.

Meanwhile, the government said here that in the ongoing battles that commenced on April 27, at least 750 LTTE cadres have been killed and over 1,000 wounded. The army estimates that at least 400 soldiers had been killed in the ongoing fighting.
Published: Sat May 27 11:20:06 EDT 2000


India can help: Lanka minister
Rediff, May 27, 2000. India can bring the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to the negotiating table, Sri Lankan Minister for Fisheries Mahinda Rajapaksa said in Dehradun, Uttar Pradesh.

"I hope India will co-operate with us. Most people of Sri Lanka feel that India can settle this problem forever by bringing the LTTE to the table," Rajapaska, who is in Uttar Pradesh for the inauguration of a post-graduate diploma course in human rights at the Rural Litigation and Entitlement Kendra, open for SAARC countries, told reporters last evening More...
Published: Sat May 27 11:02:37 EDT 2000


Army declines to honour LTTE ceasefire; 7 killed
Express India, Saturday, May 27, 2000. COLOMBO: Sri Lankan army has declined to honour the 12-hour unilateral cease-fire announced by the LTTE to evacuate civilians from northern Jaffna saying it has not received any official intimation from rebels.

Army spokesman Brig Palitha Fernando said the troops would continue their fight to liberate certain areas in Jaffna occupied by the LTTE, irrespective of the unilateral cease-fire declared by them. More...
Published: Sat May 27 10:56:44 EDT 2000


LTTE declares truce, President offers key post to Prabhakaran
Asiagateway-Deccan Chronicle, London, May 26. The LTTE on Friday night declared a 12-hour ceasefire for 12 hours from 10 am on Saturday to enable the civilians to move to safer places raising fear of intensified assault against government troops in Jaffna peninsula. Reports from Sri Lanka’s war-zone quoting clandestine rebels’ radio said the Tigers have declared unilateral ceasefire and have asked the people to leave the area between 10 am and 10 pm and that the International Red Cross has been informed accordingly.

However, there was no independent confirmation of the ceasefire. Reports from Colombo said the Sri Lankan Army stepped up ground attacks on various rebel positions, killing 13 Tamil guerrillas as the LTTE deadline asking the besieged 30,000 troops to withdraw from Jaffna expired at 6 pm on Friday. More..
Published: Sat May 27 04:06:09 EDT 2000


S. Lanka Appeals to Conserve Electricity
Asiagateway-Xinhua, COLOMBO, May 26. The Sri Lanka's national Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) Friday appealed to the public to conserve power in their daily activities as there is a possibility of a power crisis in the country, a senior officer here said.

Since hydro reservoir levels of the country continue to deteriorate, there is a possibility of a power crisis arising as a consequence and remedial measures should be immediately taken to conserve electricity in order to overcome the situation, Arijun Deraniyagala, Chairman of CEB, said at a press conference organized by the Ministry of Irrigation and Power. More..
Published: Sat May 27 04:02:47 EDT 2000


The Forgotten Left behind from years of civil strife in Sri Lanka
Asiaweek, JUNE 2, 2000. Sri Lanka's president, Chandrika Kumaratunga, issued a Churchillian call on national television as rebel troops closed in on Jaffna: "People of Sri Lanka in their entirety are today facing a most decisive moment in their history." The Indian navy mobilized for possible duty evacuating government troops and civilians from Jaffna. But it was all distant thunder to the thousands of Tamil refugees in the dozen or so camps scattered around the northern city of Vavuniya. More..
Published: Sat May 27 03:50:42 EDT 2000

Tigers begin ceasefire
BBC, Saturday, 27 May, 2000, 04:37 GMT 05:37 UK. Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka have started a 12-hour ceasefire to allow civilians to flee the war zone in the northern Jaffna peninsula. The ceasefire announcement, to run from 1000 local time (0400GMT) on Saturday, came after UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan appealed for the safety of civilians - numbering nearly 500,000 on the peninsula - and for humanitarian workers to have safe passage.. More...
Published: Sat May 27 01:27:01 EDT 2000

LTTE to observe 12 hour ceasefire today to enable civlians to leave Jaffna
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.25 a.m. SLT Saturday May 27. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in a statement issued from its London office last night said that it will observe a temporary cessation of hostilities today (27.5.00) between 10a.m and 10p.m to facilitate the evacuation of civilians from the battle zones of the Thenmarachchi division of the Jaffna peninsula to safe areas.

The Tiger statement said that "Ever since the offensive campaign began for the liberation of Jaffna, the Tamil Tigers have been advising the Tamil civilian masses in the combat zones to move to secure areas to avoid being caught in the crossfire."

The LTTE claim that it has also approached the International Committee of the Red Cross and other human rights organisations in the peninsula to help to evacuate civilians to safe areas.

At the time of filing this report the ICRC could not confirm if indeed it had received such a request from the Tigers.
Published: Fri May 26 23:39:26 EDT 2000


President rules out troop withdrawal in Jaffna
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.30 a.m. SLT Saturday May 27. President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge yesterday told an Indian TV network that she would not withdraw some 30,000 troops from Sri Lanka's war stricken North. The President was responding to a question on if she would take up India's offer to help evacuate Lankan troops from Jaffna, as fierce fighting continues to rage between government armed forces and Tamil Tiger rebels.

The President however reiterated that in the event the ground situation in Jaffna were to deteriorate, she could not let the LTTE hack to death nearly 30,000 soldiers. In which case, the government would make the necessary decision to meet such an eventuality, she said.
Published: Fri May 26 23:39:27 EDT 2000


Tamil political parties ask President to postpone discussion
Frederica Jansz in Colombo, 9.35 a.m. SLT Saturday May 27. The Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), in a letter to President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge yesterday, asked that the meeting with Tamil political party representatives scheduled for Monday May 29, be postponed in view of the current security situation in the country.

V. Anandasagari, Secretary for the TULF has asked that the discussion with the President on proposed constitutional reforms be put on hold until the current crisis in the northern peninsula improves. The joint discussion scheduled last Thursday May 25, was postponed for Monday as the President was unwell.
Published: Fri May 26 23:39:27 EDT 2000


SRI LANKA: SUICIDE BOMBERS: Ultimate Sacrifice
Far Eastern Economic Review, June 1, 2000. HE LOOKS LIKE any other 18-year-old Tamil boy. Average height, lithe frame, coal-dark eyes--features that make Vasantharaja almost indistinguishable from any of his high-school friends. But Vasantha is different. Vasantha will soon be dead.

In six months' time, the boy will leave his home province of Batticaloa in eastern Sri Lanka and travel out, perhaps to Colombo. There, he will strap a belt filled with explosives across his slight body and walk steadily toward a congested traffic light or a public meeting somewhere in the city. When he reaches his destination, Vasantha will press a button attached to his belt and instantly detonate an explosion that will kill him and possibly dozens of those around him. More...
Published: Fri May 26 22:45:33 EDT 2000


Creation of Eelam not a threat to India
The Pioneer, New Delhi, Saturday, May 27, 2000. Though maintaining that India was committed to the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka, the BJP senior vice president, Jana Krishnamurthy, said on Friday that the creation of Eelam was not a threat to India. The BJP leader made these remarks, responding to a query, whether the formation of Eelam would affect India. The BJP leader also stated that people in Tamil Nadu were patriotic and fully committed to India. "Creation of Eelam is no threat to India", Mr Krishnamurthy said. Even as he dismissed the formation of the separate State immediately. More...
Published: Fri May 26 21:58:31 EDT 2000

Battle reaches a plateau
The Pioneer, New Delhi, Saturday, May 27, 2000. Defying the 1800 hrs deadline set by the LTTE for surrender of 40,000 soldiers, the Lankan troops on Friday advanced towards enemy positions with new weapons, inflicting heavy casualties.

Latest reports said that 14 of the LTTE were killed in Nagarkovil, Navatkuli and other areas, even as the LTTE continued to launch sporadic artillery and mortar attacks on defences manned by the Sri Lankan Army (SLA) troops in Chavakachcheri. More...
Published: Fri May 26 21:56:50 EDT 2000


US Fifth Fleet moves into south Arabian Sea
File photo of USS Elliot, a Destroyer in 5th fleet
Deccan Herald, NEW DELHI, May 26 (DHNS) The United States has moved elements of its Manama-based Fifth Fleet into the south Arabian Sea, from where they can reach the Sri Lankan shores within 24 hours. Confirming this here today, foreign secretary Lalit Mansingh told newsmen that he had taken up the matter with US under secretary of state for Political Affairs Thomas Pickering two days ago. The show of strength by the US close to Sri Lankan shores is interpreted here to be a symbolic act by the Clinton administration to express solidarity with Colombo.

According to well-placed sources here the Fifth Fleet consists of three to four ships, including a guided missile destroyer, a frigate and support ships. The sources said these ships are likely to move around in the south Arabian Sea from where the US can monitor developments in the conflict zone. More...
Published: Fri May 26 20:33:05 EDT 2000


'Be Jaffna CM, stop war'
The Hindu, NEW DELHI, MAY 26. The Sri Lankan President offered the LTTE chief, Mr. Velupillai Prabhakaran, chief ministership of the Jaffna province if he gave up his policy of terrorism and joined the democratic process in the country's political life. The President, who was replying to a question on the Norwegian mediation efforts said her Government had conveyed to Mr. Prabhakaran that ``he could even be the leader or Chief Minister of the devolved unit - perhaps even for a certain period without elections - if he gave up his ghoulish politics of murder and terror and came into democratic stream.'' More...
Published: Fri May 26 20:06:50 EDT 2000

War drives out one-third of Jaffna's population
The Indian Express, COLOMBO, MAY 26. Though the Tamil Nadu coast has seen only a trickle of refugees from Jaffna so far, the war there has made tens of thousands of people flee their homes. Aid agencies say that about 1.5 lakh people -- that is over a third of the peninsula's five lakh population -- have been displaced. Jaffna town is the worst hit. As the fighting gets closer, the town is virtually emptying itself out. Seventy per cent of the one lakh people who lived within Jaffna's municipal limits have fled, mostly to the Valigamam sector in the peninsula. More...
Published: Fri May 26 20:05:30 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka rejects Jaffna pullout, troops, Tigers trade fire
Orientation-AFP,COLOMBO, May 26. Sri Lanka President Chandrika Kumaratunga ruled out withdrawing troops from the northern peninsula of Jaffna as a deadline set by the guerrillas for an evacuation passed Friday. More..
Published: Fri May 26 18:16:12 EDT 2000

UNHCR evacuates Sri Lankans from shelled school
Orientation-AFP,GENEVA, May 26 . More than 200 Sri Lankans were evacuated by UN refugee agency officials from a bombed-out school in the north of the country, an agency spokesman said Friday. More..
Published: Fri May 26 18:16:12 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan women's group urges legal abortions
Orientation-AFP,COLOMBO, May 26. A Sri Lankan women's umbrella group on Friday urged lawmakers to legalize abortion, claiming that 1,000 pregnancies are terminated in the country every day, often under dangerous conditions. More..
Published: Fri May 26 18:16:12 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka sets up another crisis centre for troops
Orientation-AFP,COLOMBO, May 26. Sri Lanka Friday announced plans for a "Special Human Intervention Facility" providing emotional support and welfare to families of soldiers battling Tamil Tiger rebels. More..
Published: Fri May 26 18:16:12 EDT 2000

Tigers call ceasefire
BBC, May 26. Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka have called a 12-hour ceasefire to allow civilians to flee the war zone in the northern Jaffna peninsula.

The ceasefire announcement, to run from 1000 local time (0400GMT) on Saturday, came after UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan appealed for the safety of civilians - numbering nearly 500,000 on the peninsula - and for humanitarian workers to have safe passage.. More..
Published: Fri May 26 16:56:43 EDT 2000


'You Will Have to Die': The man behind the Tamil Tigers' new offensive
Ian MacKinnon, Newsweek International, May 29, 2000. It's dangerous to get on the wrong side of the Tamil Tigers. On a quiet street in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, a wary eye peers from a spy-hole in the 10-foot-high steel gate. It opens to reveal a shoeless guard carrying an AK-47 rifle and pistol. Inside, Douglas Devananda, a legislator, greets visitors in a windowless room behind a reinforced remote-controlled door. As a former guerrilla who 13 years ago abandoned the fight for an independent Tamil state, Devananda is on the watch for assassins. He has survived two attempts on his life. Other Tamil leaders who've defected have been killed by the henchmen of Velupillai Prabhakaran, the separatist movement's leader. "We're seen as traitors," says Devananda. "[Prabhakaran] is ruthless." More...
Published: Fri May 26 15:58:35 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka, India Aim To Boost Trade Ties With Exhibition
Asia Gateway, Friday, May 26 4:02 PM SGT. COLOMBO (Dow Jones)--A three-day joint trade exhibition aimed at boosting commercial ties and increasing business opportunities between Sri Lanka and India opened Friday. The event follows the implementation of a landmark free trade agreement between India and Sri Lanka in March. The deal, which was signed on a visit to India by Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga in December 1998, will eliminate customs duties between the two countries over the next several years. More...
Published: Fri May 26 15:38:03 EDT 2000

UNHCR concerned about the plight of civilians in Jaffna
Lisa Schlein, VOA News, Geneva, May 26, 2000. The United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, is voicing continued concern about the plight of civilians in Sri Lanka's Jaffna peninsula. Lisa Schlein in Geneva reports the agency says thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes because of fighting between government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels. The U-N refugee agency says its aid workers evacuated more than 200 of the 350 Sri Lankans who were living in a school in Varani, about 200 kilometers northeast of Jaffna city. More...
Published: Fri May 26 15:34:50 EDT 2000

LTTE declares truce as deadline expires
Press Trust of India, London,Friday, May 26, 2000. The LTTE tonight declared a 12-hour ceasefire for 12 hours from 10 AM tomorrow to enable the civilians to move to safer places raising fear of intensified assault against government troops in Jaffna peninsula. Reports from Sri Lanka's war-zone quoting clandestine rebels' radio said Tigers have declared unilateral ceasefire and have asked the people to leave the area between 10 AM to 10 PM and International Red Cross has been informed accordingly. More...
Published: Fri May 26 15:23:51 EDT 2000

'Give Norway a chance'
The Hindu, Friday, May 26, 2000. CHENNAI, MAY 25. The United Kingdom believes that the Norwegian initiative to settle the Sri Lankan crisis should be given a chance, in view of Norway's record of neutrality and negotiating skills, the British High Commissioner to India, Sir Rob Young, said here today. More...
Published: Fri May 26 15:00:18 EDT 2000

LTTE regrouping its guerillas
The Indian Express, Friday, May 26, 2000. NEW DELHI: The lull of the past three days has been utilised by LTTE to regroup its guerillas and the next three to five days could be crucial to decide the fate of Sri Lanka's Tamil-dominated northern Jaffna province, according to defence sources here. Highly placed navy sources said the India's Eastern Naval Flotilla, conducting exercises in the Bay of Bengal off Jaffna's coast, was on six to 12 hours alert for undertaking, if required, a humanitarian evacuation from Jaffna. Besides a large number of Mager Class landing ships, they said the navy had hired a large number of merchant ships to carry out, if directed, evacuation of nearly 45,000 Sri Lankan troops and civilians from Jaffna. More...
Published: Fri May 26 14:50:31 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan Air Force Bombs Rebels
AP, Friday May 26 10:50 AM ET. NEW DELHI, India (AP) - Sri Lanka's air force bombed rebel positions today, ignoring a deadline set by Tamil separatists for the surrender of nearly 40,000 government troops defending northern Jaffna Peninsula. Just before the 6 p.m. deadline expired, the rebels' clandestine Voice of Tiger radio repeated the call to the troops to give up or face a blood bath. ``The road, sea and air links to Jaffna have been cut,'' said the broadcast, monitored in the government-controlled town of Vavuniya. ``Come out waving a white flag. If you do that within 24 hours, according to the war rules, we will free you through the Red Cross.'' More...
Published: Fri May 26 14:47:10 EDT 2000

A necessary intervention - A Commentry
Indian Express, May26. The LTTE equates itself with Tamil interests. It has mentally cloned a Tamil Eelam of its own taste. While in truth, the Tamil interests require a proper institutional mechanism. No organisation or individual can substitute such an institutional safeguard. The LTTE lacks the wisdom and maturity to work out an institutional mechanism and to lead a people. Being a mixture of crime and despotism, the LTTE is today as much the problem for Lankan Tamils as the Sri Lankan government. So the LTTE is inherently disabled to solve the problem. More..
Published: Fri May 26 13:14:57 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka rebels in 12-hour ceasefire for civilians
ABC-Reuters, May26. Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels, who had given government troops until Friday to surrender, said they would hold fire for 12 hours to allow civilians to move out of the combat zone in the northern Jaffna peninsula. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in a statement from their London office announced a temporary ceasefire for 12 hours from 10 a.m. (0400 GMT) on Saturday to facilitate the evacuation of civilians from battle zones on the Thenmarachchi division of the peninsula. More..
Published: Fri May 26 13:04:45 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka defies ultimatum, attacks Tamil rebels near Jaffna
CNN, May 26, 2000. Defying the Tamil Tiger rebels' threat of a "bloodbath" if they refused to surrender by Friday evening, government troops in northern Sri Lanka launched

heavy artillery fire at rebel positions. The artillery attacks came in retaliation for sporadic rebel shelling and mortar attacks on army defenses in the Chavakachcheri area north of Jaffna, Sri Lankan spokesman and chief government censor Ariya Rubasinghe said Thursday. More..
Published: Fri May 26 12:40:07 EDT 2000


US not to take any action in Sri Lanka
Hindu, May26. The United States has conveyed to India that it does not intend to take any action in Sri Lanka, Foreign Secretary Lalit Mansingh said today on reports that American warships had been moved from the Gulf and might be anchored west of the island nation. Washington had conveyed that: "US does not intend to take any action in Sri Lanka," he said. More..
Published: Fri May 26 12:34:23 EDT 2000

LTTE deadline lapses; troops advance
Hindu, May 26.. Defying the 1800 hrs deadline set by the LTTE for surrender of 40,000 soldiers, the Lankan troops today advanced towards enemy positions with new weapons, inflicting heavy casualties. Latest reports said that 14 terrorists were killed in Nagarkovil, Navatkuli and other areas, even as the rebels continued to launch sporadic artillery and mortar attacks on defences manned by troops in Chavakachcheri. More..
Published: Fri May 26 12:34:23 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan President says Jaffna evacuation is "a last resort"
Yahoo-afp, May26. The humanitarian assistance they have offered is for evacuation and that kind of thing, but that comes in only if we lost the war, but that is a last resort thing which we would certainly use if the need arises, but we hope we won't," she told India's NDTV network.We cannot have 25,000 to 30,000 of our troops getting hacked to death by the LTTE. If it reaches a situation like that on the ground we will take the necessary decisions." More..
Published: Fri May 26 12:06:14 EDT 2000

Arthur C Clarke knighted
BBC, Friday, 26 May, 2000. The science fiction writer, Arthur C Clarke, has been knighted, more than two years after the title was conferred on him. UK High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Linda Duffield, presented the "award of Knight Bachelor" to the novelist at a ceremony in Colombo, where he resides. More...
Published: Fri May 26 11:25:42 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka army seeks recruits
BBC, Friday, 26 May, 2000, 14:37 GMT 15:37 UK. The Sri Lankan Government has called for new recruits as the army and Tamil Tiger rebels continue to battle for control of the northern Jaffna peninsula. A government statement appealed directly to the country's youth to join up, and urged retired officers to come back for six months to serve in non-operational areas. More...
Published: Fri May 26 11:19:21 EDT 2000

FEATURE-Ruthless supremo keeps Tamil Tigers Inc. roaring
ABC-Reuters, May26. They are backed by millions of dollars, pounds and francs from Tamils around the globe, a shadowy underworld of extortion, drug smuggling and forgery, and a slick propaganda machine. The Tigers have been sustained by the many tentacles -- including shipping companies and registered charities -- of an organisation one former Tamil militant likened to a "multinational corporation." The LTTE's international wing operates from London and Paris. More..
Published: Fri May 26 10:28:24 EDT 2000

S.Lanka views surcharge, power cuts to face crisis
ABC-Reuters, May26. Sri Lanka may be forced to demand surcharges and enforce power cuts to face an electricity crisis if hydro-catchment areas do not receive adequate rain by next week, officials said on Friday. "We might have to take harsh measures like power cuts and surcharges...," Ananda Gunasekera, acting secretary of the ministry of Irrigation and Power, told a news conference. More..
Published: Fri May 26 10:22:55 EDT 2000

Vaiko visits Prabhakaran's mother in hospital
IndiaTimes, May26. TIRUCHIRAPALLI: Marumalarchi DMK(MDNK) general-secretary Vaiko on Friday called on Mrs Parvathy, mother of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam chief Prabhakaran, at a private hospital at Musiri near here.Vaiko spent about 30 minutes at the hospital and enquired about her health. He also spoke to the doctors about the nature of treatment given to her. More..
Published: Fri May 26 10:19:53 EDT 2000

`No contradiction in Indian position on Lanka'
Times of India, May26. Officials stressed there was no contradiction in getting a terrorist group and the Sri Lankan government to talk. ``India is certainly not going to side with the LTTE,'' an official said. ``We want to ensure that Sri Lanka remains one country. We believe this can be done when the rights of the Tamil minorities are adequately safeguarded,'' he said. ``New Delhi doesn't want an independent Tamil nation so near its borders, a country capable of spreading terrorism.'' ``We are siding with the Lankan President,'' an MEA official said. More..
Published: Fri May 26 10:15:26 EDT 2000

19 more Lankan refugees reach TN
Times of India, May26. CHENNAI: Nineteen more refugees arrived from Sri Lanka on Thursday morning at the Palk Straits and waited till the afternoon before they were rescued by the officials of the fisheries department under the guidance of the Navy. They were taken to the Mandapam camp for checking and registration. More..
Published: Fri May 26 10:15:26 EDT 2000

Tamil Tiger deadline nears
BBC, May26. Army troops patrol the northern town of Vavuniya Separatist Tamil Tiger rebels in Sri Lanka say they will begin killing about 30,000 government troops trapped in northern Jaffna if they do not surrender on Friday. The deadline is set for 1800 local time (1200 GMT) and was announced on the clandestine Voice of Tigers radio. But the government appeared to ignore the warning and launched artillery attacks on rebel positions. More..
Published: Fri May 26 10:03:32 EDT 2000

Ruling to come on deporting suspects who face torture
National Post, May26. The Supreme Court will decide whether Canada should be prevented from deporting suspected terrorists if they are likely to face torture in their native country. The court announced yesterday it would hear the appeals of Manickavasagam Suresh, a suspected fundraiser for the Tamil Tigers terrorist organization fighting for an ethnic state in Sri Lanka, and Mansour Ahani, a suspected Iranian assassin. More..
Published: Fri May 26 09:29:22 EDT 2000

The man behind the Tamil Tigers' new offensive
Newsweek, May26. To many impoverished Tamils in the northeast, Prabhakaran is a savior. The families of recruits get $40 a month and food rations. Young Tamils are sometimes forced to join, according to the Colombo-based University Teachers for Human Rights. "One day you will have to die," recruiters told a group of youths recently, according to a report by the group. "If you die fighting, it will be a hero's death. But if you die a natural death it will be a coward'.Some of Prabhakaran's bloodiest ideas seem to come from the movies. Tamil suicide bombers, called Black Tigers, wear explosive-packed jackets that Prabhakaran devised after seeing "Death Wish II." (In the film, a woman blows herself up killing a world leader.) More..
Published: Fri May 26 09:13:53 EDT 2000

'India has big role to play' - Interview with Lakshman Kirelale
Rediff, May26. For the Deputy Foreign Minister of a nation at war, Lakshman Kirelale looks evenly poised. Yet, the jovial face expresses concern and every word is weighed before being uttered. It could not have been otherwise, as in Madras he is a host of India and the government he represents expects India to play an important role in ending not just the war but also the long-term ethnic problem in the island nation. More..
Published: Fri May 26 09:07:34 EDT 2000

'Indians must celebrate if Jaffna falls' - An Interview with Vaiko
Rediff, May26. Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief V Gopalasamy, better known as Vaiko, is the rabble-rouser of Tamil Nadupolitics. Vaiko's support crossed the limits of provocation last month, when he allegedly hailed the Tigers' attempts to assassinate Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga. More..
Published: Fri May 26 09:07:34 EDT 2000

JNU student from TN harassed in Lanka
Rediff. When some academics and students from India decided to travel to Colombo in the last week of April, while the war between government troops and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam cadres was raging, they did not expect everything to be peaceful. It was not. More..
Published: Fri May 26 09:07:34 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka issues call to arms for old soldiers - US Denies Reports of War Ships
AltaVista-Reuters, May26. Sri Lanka urged retired officers to rejoin the armed forces as troops in northern Jaffna braced for the intensified attacks Tamil Tiger rebels threatened if government forces there did not surrender by Friday. A U.S. diplomat in Colombo said there were no U.S. ships on their way to Sri Lanka, nor were there plans to send any. More..
Published: Fri May 26 08:57:05 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan government asks retired officers to re-enlist
NDTV, May 26. The Sri Lankan government has called upon retired officers to re-enlist for six months of voluntary service. In a statement today, the Sri Lankan Defence Ministry appealed to the country's youth to assist the armed forces and said that retired officers will be posted in non-operational areas. This will enable the government to shift the soldiers on security duty to combat zones. More..
Published: Fri May 26 08:52:07 EDT 2000

13 LTTE rebels killed in Lanka fighting
Hindu, May 26.. The Sri Lankan Army stepped up ground attacks on various rebel positions, killing 13 Tamil guerrillas in the face of a renewed LTTE ultimatum to trapped 30,000 Government troops to surrender by this evening. More..
Published: Fri May 26 08:49:57 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka Troops Defy Surrender Call, Attack Rebels
Yahoo, May26. -Government troops launched heavy artillery attacks on rebel positions Friday, defying a Tamil Tiger call to surrender the northern city of Jaffna or face a blood bath. The artillery attack was in retaliation to sporadic artillery and mortar attacks on army defenses in the Chavakachecheri area on the periphery of northern city of Jaffna. More..
Published: Fri May 26 08:45:05 EDT 2000

Troops, Tigers trade artillery fire in Jaffna
Yahoo, May 26. Government forces and Tamil Tiger rebels traded artillery fire and mortar bombs in Sri Lanka's Jaffna peninsula Friday, after separate fighting left 13 rebels dead, military sources said. Nine members of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were killed in the Jaffna peninsula while four more were shot dead in the northern mainland at Wanni, the government said in a statement. More..
Published: Fri May 26 08:45:05 EDT 2000

Sri Lanka War Hits Tourism Industry - Industry Officials
Yahoo, May26. Sri Lanka's tourism industry will face a difficult year as a raging civil war in the north of the country prompts travelers to switch to alternative destinations, crimping arrivals from last year's all-time record level, industry officials and analysts say. "Summer bookings will suffer by about 15% to 20% (on year), as the country's current situation doesn't look very encouraging," said Vasantha Leelananda, managing director of Walkers Tours Ltd., a major tour operator in the country. More..
Published: Fri May 26 08:45:05 EDT 2000

Lull in fighting in Jaffna peninsula as rebel deadline nears.
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 15.20 SL time 26.05.00. The Special media Information centre of the government said today that rebels continued to launch sporadic artillery and mortar attacks on army defences in the Chavakachcheri are. The new release said the "army retaliated with heavy artillery attacks on likely LTTE artillery and mortar positions. The lull in the fighting comes as the deadline for the rebels latest ceasefire offer nears. The LTTE offered a ceasefire for the Army to withdraw from Jaffna and said they would launch fresh offensives if there were no response by Friday might.
Published: Fri May 26 05:38:00 EDT 2000

Main Opposition Party launches protest procession to protest against the new draconian regulations limiting freedom of expression and other political rights.
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 15.25 SL time 26.05.00. The main Opposition United National Party (UNP) launched a Ratha Yatra from Colombo today to protest against the draconian new regulations imposed by the government three weeks ago placing severe restrictions on freedom of expression the other political rights. Nearly 400 vehicles left Colombo on a three day 250 kilo meter journey to Kataragama. The motorcade was publisiced as religious procession to overcome the ban on political protests. UNP leader Ranil Wickramesinghe said the procession was to pray for the unity of the country and to demand that the draconian regulations are lifted. The procession was to hold religious ceremonies in all important religious places on route and end in Kataragama on Sunday.
Published: Fri May 26 05:38:00 EDT 2000

President establishes a special human intervention facility to provide emotional support armed forces personnel.
Waruna Karunatilake in Colombo, 15.30 SL time 26.05.00. President Chandrika Kumaratunga has established a special Human Intervention facility to facilitate the provisions of emotional support for personnel of the armed forces police and their families aimed at coping with their grief after the loss of a loved one, a media communique issued by the Special media information unit said.Ther communique said this special unit will come under the Presidential secretariat and will fa ciliate the administrative procedures for these people. " The President has established this facility under own wing(sic) as a matter of utmost national priority" the statement said. end
Published: Fri May 26 05:38:00 EDT 2000

Sri Lankan troops in northern Jaffna placed on red alert.
Roy Denish in Colombo, SLT 11.45am Friday.. Government of Sri Lanka placed its troops on red alert as the deadline issued by separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to withdraw the soldiers from embattled northern Jaffna peninsula expires at local time 6.00pm.

Military officials in Colombo said that there were no reports of fighting in Jaffna peninsula on Friday morning, but expected large-scale attacks on government forces as the deadline to withdraw was closing-in.

On Wednesday, Tamil rebels appealed in their clandestine radio, the Voice of Tigers, to all soldiers in northern Jaffna peninsula to withdraw by Friday if not face the bloodiest consequences in the 18 years of war.

President Chandrika Kumaratunge responding to the appeal said in an interview with Hindu newspaper it was a "joke". But the military officials said that all troops in the peninsula were put on alert and in a pre-emptive action, ground attack air crafts known as Kfirs were strafing LTTE artillery positions along the highway, that links Jaffna and Vavuniya.

Amidst fears of heavy fighting, the US and French naval ships were anchored off the coast of Sri Lanka to monitor the situation. Tamil Tiger rebels are fighting to create an independent homeland for minority Tamils for the past 18 years which had left over 75,000 people killed.
Published: Fri May 26 02:40:21 EDT 2000



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